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조선에서 청조에 보낸 자문 원문의 입수 및 내용 분석

 
  • 발신자F. F. Low
  • 수신자H. Fish
  • 발송일1871년 11월 23일(음)
  • 수신일1872년 2월 2일(음)
  • 출전NA II, M92 R32
Legation of the United States
Peking, November 23, 1871

Sir:
 I have the honor to enclose translation of a letter from the King of Corea to the Chinese government, and a copy of my note to Prince Kung which contains the substance of what transpired at an interview in which the letter was discussed.
 There is no reason to suppose that the Corean government intended that a copy should be given to one, and it is but just to the officials here for one to say that they voluntarily made known that a dispatch had arrived, and proposed to inform one of the contents if by so doing no responsibility would attach to them.
 A synopsis of it was first sent which I respectfully declined; my request for a full copy of the text was promptly responded to.
 The King’s dispatch is an interesting and instructing document. It is worthy to be placed in the same category with the papers found in Viceroy’s Yamen in Canton, translations of which accompanied Mr. Reed’s dispatch of October 21, 1858.
 In commenting upon them Mr. Reed said: “They are certainly the most painful revelations of the mendacity and treacherous habits of the high officials of this Empire yet given to the world; they cannot be [read] without contemptuous resentment.”
 Oriental character and habit have, I fear, improved little since then. If a difference exists between the officials in China and Corea the latter, being less informed, suffer by comparison.
 The conclusions to be drawn from the King’s dispatch are: -
 1st That the Government of Corea is greatly alarmed.
 2nd That it is ignorant of the real status of Western nations vis a vis China; the Coreans evidently believing that all the treaty powers are states tributary to China the same as their own country
 3rd In this belief the King prays the imperial government to issue a decree forbidding farther attempts at intercourse, not doubting that the European power of the United States is sufficient to compel obedience
 4th If the command of the Emperor be not obeyed then material aid is expected from China to repel or expel the invader
 5th In order to secure the friendly cooperation and aid of China the King deemed it necessary to give a history of what occurred last summer, accompanied by such explanations as would justify the haughty attitudes and hostile actions manifested towards us.
 I feel bound to add that there is nothing in his letter that leads one to believe that a different course of action by us would have caused the least change in the attitude of that government, on the contrary it is, I think, conclusively proven that the King had firmly resolved in advance, to hold no intercourse with us for any purpose. The importance attached to the refusal of the Admiral and myself to meet the three petty officials is the merest subterfuge. No one knows better than the King the proprieties of official intercourse; he knows also that the reception of those officials altered in no particular his course, resolved upon from the beginning. Viewing the whole question in the light of subsequent experience and the information obtained since, I am firmly of the opinion that our reception of the officials referred to would have served no useful purpose; on the contrary it would have strengthened [and] confirmed the opinion of that government that the United States are vassal to China and tended to lower us in the estimation of the government here. It is also apparent that the punishment inflicted by our forces instead of leading to harmful results has impressed that government with a power to redress wrongs [might] prove a greater protection to shipwrecked people than the King’s promises made through the Chinese government.
 If there is any sincerity or reliance to be placed on, Chinese officials their outshaken condemnation of the actions of the Coreans, in their conversations with one, may have been communicated, in a modified form, to the King, which caused him to seek to justify himself.
 The apparent ignorance of the rulers of the country in regard to the relations existing between China and Western nations is a formidable barrier in the way of intercourse for any purpose. Until it can be removed all attempts all friendly negotiations must, of necessity, fail; and it is too much to expect that the Chinese government will, of its own accord, enlighten the King, by stating the real facts, when such knowledge would lessen the subserviency and veneration of a vassal to its suzerain, and lower the dignity, somewhat, of the Chinese high officials. My experience leads one to doubt whether good will, gratitude or intentional good faith would induce the rulers of this country to take such a step. If however they were firmly convinced that Western nations had determined to break down the barriers of Asiatic isolation, peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must, and that a failure on the part of the Imperial Government to perform an obvious duty might involve their country in trouble also, then it would be done. It was this view of the situation that caused me to seek the interview with the prince; and to impress him with the gravity and importance of his action or non action in the opinion of foreign nations was my chief reason for furnishing him with a written memorandum of what was said at our interview.
 This discussion afforded a favorable opportunity to re-state what I had said previously to the Foreign Office about the actual occurrences of last summer: advantage was also taken of it to give the prince a copy of any dispatch to the King, but which failed to reach him.
 With this letter, and the one, a copy of which is enclosed in the King’s dispatch, before them, the officials here will fully understand our view of what we desired and of the action taken. For convenience of reference I beg to enclose copies of the two letters referred to. I hardly expected to obtain the Prince’s consent to forward the dispatch, and although he may, and probably will, persist in his refusal, the contents of it will, I have little doubt find it’s way to the King. No response has as of yet been received from the Prince: indeed it is hardly time to expect one.
 My faith is not robust that the action herein detailed will have a marked influence upon either the Chinese or Corean governments: it can by no possibility do harm and may serve a useful purpose in solving the Corean problem.
 An opportunity offered for discussion which it seemed in every view of the question, wise to avail myself of, and my action will, I trust, meet the approval of the Department.
 I am Sir

Your Obdt Servant
Frederick F Low
Honorable Hamilton Fish
Secretary of State

 
이름
Prince Kung , Reed’s , Reed
지명
Canton , China , Corea , China , China , China , China , China
관서
the Chinese government , the Corean government , the Government of Corea , government that the United States , the Chinese government , the Chinese government , Corean governments
기타
the King of Corea

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